Last updated: 10:15 AM ET, Wed May 13 2015

Puerto Vallarta Officials Meet with Cruise Execs to Ease Fears

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Carnival Cruise Line | Theresa Norton | May 13, 2015

Puerto Vallarta Officials Meet with Cruise Execs to Ease Fears

Photo of Puerto Vallarta courtesy of Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board

Puerto Vallarta tourism officials met with cruise line executives after three ships canceled calls to the popular Mexican resort area this week amid fears of violence.

At the meeting, held May 12 in Miami, were Michele Paige, president of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), and representatives from cruise lines including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruises.

Representing Puerto Vallarta were Enrique Ramos Flores, minister of tourism for the state of Jalisco; Oscar Perez, tourism director of the city of Puerto Vallarta; and Rodrigo Esponda, director of the Mexican Tourism Board for North America. Also attending were directors of security for the State of Jalisco and the City of Puerto Vallarta.

During the meeting, the parties agreed to “improve and increase communications to ensure the cruise lines are kept better informed and receive updates in real time about the destination,” according to a press release from Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta’s marina also will enhance security “to ensure the cruise lines know the whereabouts of all passengers who go ashore, as it is done in many other international cruise destinations.”

Puerto Vallarta will work with local tour operators, taxi drivers and other tourism service providers to employ new measures that inform the ships of their passengers’ location since an average of 65 percent of cruise passengers who disembark in Puerto Vallarta explore unescorted.

This week Disney, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships spent a day at sea instead of calling at Puerto Vallarta as scheduled. The tourism officials said the cancellations were “due to conflicting and inaccurate reports about events that occurred on May 1 in the destination.”

On that day, a drug cartel in Jalisco shot down a military helicopter with rocket-propelled grenades, killing at least six soldiers, and other violence broke out in the area. U.S. and Canadian governments urged travelers to “exercise caution” in the area. The violence was quickly quelled and no further incidents have occurred.

“The unfortunate events that took place in Puerto Vallarta and other areas in the state of Jalisco on Friday morning May 1 were quickly contained and resolved,” the Puerto Vallarta press release said. “No harm came to any residents or visitors to Puerto Vallarta and no disturbance, restriction or limits affected tourists in the area. All tourism infrastructure and services including the cruise ship terminal, marina, airport, convention center, hotels and resorts, tours, and ground transport remained fully operational. Puerto Vallarta continues to offer the tranquility, warm hospitality and security it is well known for, and the isolated and highly unusual incidents that took place have in no way affected or altered this.”

The Carnival Miracle visited Puerto Vallarta as scheduled on May 12. It is the only cruise line that makes scheduled weekly visits on its cruises from Long Beach, Calif.

No further cancellations by any ship are expected, the tourism officials said.

Hotel occupation has been running at an average of 80 percent occupancy in Puerto Vallarta since October 2014, according to the Mexico Ministry of Tourism. Puerto Vallarta in fact was operating at 95 percent capacity during the May 1-4 weekend.


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